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Paris Summit Focused on Climate Change Fight

Paris Summit Focused on Climate Change Fight

Wednesday, 13 December, 2017 - 13:00
French President Emmanuel Macron attends the "Tech for Planet" event at the "Station F" start up campus ahead of the One Planet Summit in Paris, France, December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

Paris climate summit, co-hosted by the UN, World Bank and, French President Emmanuel Macron, was held on the second anniversary of the Paris climate accord, which was ratified by 170 countries.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, among other global leaders and heads of state attended the summit that comes after US President Donald Trump decided to withdraw from the accord.

World’s two other biggest polluters, China, Brazil, Russia, Canada and India as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker didn't attend the summit.

Commenting on Trump's rejection of Paris accord, Macron said it is a "huge momentum" and considered it to be a mistake, adding that the world has to react and do something.

During an interview with CBS, French President stated: "If we decide not to move and not change our way to produce, to invest, to behave, we will be responsible for billions of victims. I don't want to be a leader in such a situation, so let's act right now."

The climate change conference, One Planet Summit, will last for two days and focus on how to finance both the global transition away from fossil fuels and measures needed to adapt to changes already underway caused by global warming.

Developed countries pledged to collectively provide $100 billion annually until 2020 to support developing countries in the fight against climate change.

Earlier last year, President Trump announced plans to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement.

With the absence of former US President Barack Obama, who played a crucial role in the Paris Accord, US will be represented by an officials and businessmen such as actor Leonardo DiCaprio, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as the governor of California Jerry Brown and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told reporters in Paris that he would continue to fight climate change, despite Trump pulling the US out of the Paris agreement.

Schwarzenegger indicated that Trump's withdrawal from climate accord did not matter because companies, scientists and other governments can “pick up the slack” to reduce global emissions.

“It doesn’t matter that Donald Trump backed out of the Paris agreement, because the private sector didn’t drop out, the public sector didn’t drop out, the universities didn’t drop out, the scientists didn’t drop out, the engineers didn’t drop out. No one else dropped out,” Schwarzenegger said.

Former US Secretary of State John Kerry insisted the world will shift to cleaner fuels and reduce emissions regardless of Trump's stance.

“We have 38 states that have renewable portfolio standard laws,” said Kerry, adding: "we have 90 cities, the major cities in America, their mayors all committed to meeting Paris. So 80 percent of the population of America is in those 38 states that are committed, and we are going to stay on track.”

Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama who chaired UN's climate talks last month said that financial pledges need to flow faster through more streamlined system and make a difference on the ground.

Fiji is among those on the front lines of the rising sea levels and extreme storms worsened by human-made emissions.

"We are all in the same canoe," rich countries and poor, insisted Bainimarama.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced that his agency would stop financing oil and gas exploration and extraction after 2019 and the bank would join forces with the Global Covenant of Mayors to provide $4.5 billion for cities to adapt to the challenges of climate change.

Speaking at the summit, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that efforts aimed at tackling climate change are extremely important and world leaders of developed countries should mobilize billions of dollars to address the challenge.

"I must reiterate my pronounced disappointment on president Trump’s decision to withdraw form the Paris climate agreement. It is politically misguided and short-sighted, economically irresponsible and scientifically wrong," said Ban on US' withdrawal from the Paris climate deal.

UN climate body's executive secretary Patricia Espinosa told the attendees that: "So many actors around the world in different areas of the economy, in different sectors of society in all countries of the world are aligning their actions and their ambitions towards the Paris agreement and the fact that this summit is convening around the Paris Agreement, around the goals of the Paris Agreement also shows how much the financial sector is aligning towards the goals established by the Paris Agreement."

At the summit, the European Commission declared that 9 billion euros worth of investments targeting sustainable cities, sustainable energy and sustainable agriculture for Africa and EU countries.

Outside the summit, activists continued to protest calling for companies and governments to stop investing in oil and coal now.

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